Know How / Soils

Expert advice on how to assess soil health and improve it to raise crop yields. Find out when to test your soil and how to interpret the test results. Improve the structure of your soil by encouraging earthworms, adding organic matter, improving drainage and growing cover crops.

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CROP MANAGEMENT

How Yen growers delivered monster OSR and cereal yields

A winter wheat crop by Lincolnshire grower Mark Stubbs yielded 16.3t/ha to take the top prize in the Adas-organised Yield Enhancement Network (Yen) competition in 2019. Following good use of…

SOILS

How to raise headland yields by cutting soil compaction risk

Yields on field headlands are typically 10% lower than the rest of the field, which is why farmers will benefit from measures that minimise the impact of increased traffic on…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

How tackling take-all can lift winter barley yields

There is a common perception that growers don’t need to use any control measures for take-all when growing winter barley. However, experts believe there is now a growing case. Changes in barley management…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

The best way to manage stubbles after harvest

Unless you are one of a growing number of no-tillers or you plough every year, it is difficult to be prescriptive when it comes to post-harvest cultivation strategy. There is…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Analysis: Can farmers be less reliant on fungicides?

Cereal growers looking to reduce their growing costs are increasingly questioning the need for four-spray fungicide programmes. With the focus on many farms shifting to soil health and sustainable farming…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

Why soil N testing could save you cash this spring

Last season's unusual weather has led to more variation in soil nitrogen reserves and testing soils this spring will help farmer avoid wasting fertiliser. Most growers were unable to apply…

Case studies

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BLACKGRASS

Why one grower went organic to tackle blackgrass problem

Faced with a bad blackgrass problem, Worcestershire grower Adrian Steele made the bold move of going organic to successfully reduce his weed problem and improve soil health. Chapel Farm, near…

SOILS

How a Sussex grower successfully undersows maize with grass

West Sussex grower Frans de Boer is successfully using a low-cost method of undersowing maize with a blend of fescues to enhance soil health, reduce soil erosion and promote organic…

WEED MANAGEMENT

Organic grower turns to sheep to control weeds

Shropshire organic grower Mark Lea was concerned that docks might become a nuisance weed on his farm and, as he could not reach for a chemical can, he turned to…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

How Lincs grower hopes to slash cultivation costs

Lincolnshire grower Andrew Ward is achieving bumper spring barley yields on his heavy land by cultivating early after the combine, and he now hopes to cut establishment costs and reduce…

SOILS

Farmer invents tyre pressure system to help soil health

Ontario farmer Jake Kraayenbrink has invented his own auto-inflation system to keep tyres at the optimum pressure, lowering the risk of soil damage. It just takes him a few seconds…

SOILS

Three Canadian farmers reveal their secrets to soil health

Heavy soils, late harvested crops like soya and a yearly rainfall exceeding 1,000mm is the perfect combination for compaction, which is why southern Ontario farmers focus so much on soil…

Insights

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SOILS

5 ways government policy can encourage soil-first farming

A lack of soil protection legislation has been a “catastrophic failure” by politicians, allowing costly degradation to continue relatively unabated until today, according to Reading University’s Chris Collins. European water…

SOILS

Overlooked soil disease can halve oilseed rape yields

A soil-borne pathogen found in wheat and oilseed rape crops can cut rapeseed yields by up to 50%, and experts suggest growers need to look at longer rotations and cultivation…

SOILS

Top tips to achieve more resilient and sustainable soils

One of the most common questions for farmers relating to “soil health” is how best to measure it and monitor progress once they have embarked on a mission to improve…

DRILLING

Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…

Latest soils news

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SOILS

New tool helps farmers assess changes in soil quality

Farmers can now assess the value of any improvements to soil health, thanks to a new tool that accurately measures soil quality. The "soils matrix" tool assesses several factors relating…

COVER CROPS

Research shows cover crops can triple worm numbers

New research has found that growing cover crops and reducing cultivations can triple earthworm numbers, resulting in healthier soil. Earthworms are a key indicator of soil health as their activity…

ESTABLISHMENT

Two growers find no-tillage success in dry and wet soils

Flexibility is the key to success for two no-tillage converts who farms very different arable areas – in some of the driest and wettest areas of Britain.  Simon Cowell has…

Soils in Practice

Soils in Practice is a one-day conference to discuss the latest advances in soil fertility and best practice in soil management. It brings together experts and industry professionals to help farmers take some of the practical steps towards soil health.
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Video

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DRILLING

Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…

SOILS

Drainage contractor splashes £400k on state-of-the-art plough

Mastenbroek has built its first UK-bound trenchless drainage plough in more than thirty years for Warwickshire-based Farm Services, which is keen to satisfy a resurgent number of farmers requesting field-scale…

SUGAR BEET

Video: Sugar beet drilling starts as growers play catch-up

Sugar beet drilling is racing ahead between the rain showers on light land with one Suffolk Brecklands estate looking to catch up from its latest start in more than a…

BLACKGRASS

Video: The plan that battered blackgrass in 12 months

Three Cambridgeshire growers are fighting back against a heavy yield penalty imposed by blackgrass with a new establishment system and have seen a dramatic turnaround in just 12 months. Declining…